Sunday, August 21, 2011

183. Carnival Beauties, DAISY P. HONTIVEROS, Miss Mindanao, 1934 Cebu Carnival

PICKING DAISY. Kahirup's bet to the Cebu Carnival Queen search--Daisy Hontiveros--would become a leading force in advancing the cause of Philippine theater, in partnerhsip with her husband, award-winning director and National Artist, Lamberto Avellana Sr. She is shown here at age 17.

In the court of the 1934 Cebu Carnival Queen Maria Lagrimas Ong, one lovely runner-up was destined for even greater things after her fourth place finish in the quest for the province’s carnival royalty. Daisy Pardo Hontiveros, who reigned as Miss Mindanao (Julieta Abad was Miss Visayas and Julia MacVean was Miss Luzon), would become the future wife of National Artist and award-winning film director Lamberto Avellana and would distinguish herself as a leading light in Philippine theater.

Lourdes Genoveva Dolores Pardo Hontiveros was born on 26 January 1917 in Capiz, Capiz to Jose M. Hontiveros and Vicenta R. Pardo. She was the eldest in a brood of 10 children, that included Jose, Leon Jose, Alejandro, Renato Jose, Eduardo Jose, Juan Nepomuceno Jose, Ma. Teresita Vicenta, Benjamin Jose and Ramon Nonato.

Nicknamed “Daisy”, she went to the Assumption Convent in Iloilo for her elementary years beginning in 1924. In 1930, she started high school at Capiz High. It was here that she was chosen as Miss Capiz and, in her senior year, she was prevailed upon by the influential Kahirup Club to join the quest for the 1934 Queen of the Cebu Carnival. Young Daisy did not disappoint her sponsors and emerged as Miss Mindanao.

That same year, after graduation, Daisy was accepted at the University of the Philippines in Padre Faura where she took a drama course. She became a very popular and accomplished actress in school, and was named 1st Intercollegiate Girl in only her first year. She also became a talented writer (editor of Philippine Herald in 1937-38) and radio actress.

On 19 June 1938, she married Lamberto V. Avellana at the Remedios Church in Malate, whom she had previously met in 1932 at a party. The two had actively immersed themselves in theater and radio work and this interest led them to organize the Barangay Theater Guild in 1939. They had four children: Marijo (died in infancy), Mari, Ivi and Bating.

Lamberto Sr. would earn fame with his film “Anak Dalita” which won the Grand Prix at the Asian Film Festival in Hong Kong in 1956. Their theater guild produced the Nick Joaquin play, “Portrait of the Filipino as an Artist”, which became the longest-running play in the Philippines. Daisy appeared as Candida in the 1965 film version.

When Lamberto passed away in 1991, Daisy carried on with her theatrical pursuits, and in 1994, she was named “The Cinema’s Living Treasure” at the Manila Metro Film Festival. She was also a Centennial Awardee for Theater by CCP. Aliw Awards honored her with a Gawad Siglo ng Aliw for Theater in 1999. Daisy continued directing stage readings of plays at FEU from 2002-2006. On her 90th birthday, she was given a tribute by the CCP and NCCA. The province of her youth, Capiz, honored her, along with Jovita Fuentes, with a “Saludo” in 2009.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

182. A Newspaper Account: 1908 CARNIVAL IN THE PHILIPPINES


The Philippine carnival, originated by Americans in Manila, is one of the biggest and most entertaining annual shows in the Orient. Interesting exhibits from all over the archipelago, from China, Japan, Siam, Singapore, the Federated Malay States, the Straits Settlements, and other surrounding countries, are shown while magnificent land and water parades, athletic tournaments and field sports, add to the amusement of the visiting throngs. The accompanying photos of certain features of the carnival are typical of the islands’ festival of fun.

Freak device of an army officer for fun-making at a carnival recently held in Manila.

The first shows Captain George T. Langhorne, U.S.A., one of the original promoters of the carnival, in his ingeniously contrived ‘mulomobile’, where it cannot be said the cart is before the horse.

Odd decoration of a boat at the carnival held recently in the Philippine capital. The head is a colossal imitation of the clown’s and the top of its cap is the steamer’s smokestack.

The decorated, grotesque-appearing launch shown in the second illustration is the creation of one of the foreign colonies of Manila, and was designed to take part in the water parade, which was one of the striking features of the carnival.

The giant head surmounting the boat’s awning was placed immediately over the smoke-stack, the cap having an opening in the top for the smoke to pass out. The effect was of course very curious and the vessel quite naturally attracted its full share of attention as it took its part proudly in the pompous pageant.

181. Carnival Beauties: SOFIA LOTA, Miss Cotabato 1926

SOFIA'S CHOICE. Sofia Lota, 'an exotic find from the untamed regions of Cotabato", assuming a film star pose in 1926.

One of the most daring beauties ever to grace the Manila Carnival was a woman who went by the formidable name Sofia Lota Rinagandu Magadi Sinambel Malibutang. Surprisingly, she came all the way from Cotabato, where religious conservatism was held in esteem. When she came to Manila, she was touted as a “Muslim with royal blood in her veins” and her bio-data likewise listed her accomplishments: a dancing girl, a former nursing student, and a school teacher.

Sofia’s name and picture, however, does not appear in the omnibus photo of the Manila Carnival contestants issued in 1926. Whether she competed or not, Sofia Lota (or Lotta), billed as “an exotic find from the untamed regions of Cotabato”, went on to becomea nationally famous personality when she joined the movies shortly after the Carnival of 1926.

She, along with other candidates, had been invited by Vicente Salumbides, the American-trained actor and director, to drop by at his studio. He was in the process of casting new faces for the movie projects he had been lining up for production. Sure enough, the beautiful Sofia caught the eye of the director, who cast her in his 1927 movie, Fate or Consequence with Gregorio Fernandez.

Sofia was a natural in front of the camera, and the next year, she found herself appearing with Vicente himself in the movie “The Soul Saver”, which featured a a very rare screen kiss. At the time of the making of the movie, Vicente had a fiancée—Rosario H. Panganiban, Miss Pampanga 1926, who had competed against Sofia in the national carnival. During the filming of the kissing scene—then sensational in its time—Rosario was there to witness the on-screen osculation—take after take. Right there and then, Rosario decided to marry Vicente in a fit of jealousy.

The vampish beauty created quite a stir with her screen performances. Leading magazines like Graphic and Free Press took note of the "Moro girl making good in the movies". Right after finishing "The Soul Saver", Sofia was paired again with the dashing Gregorio Fernandez in the classic hit, “Lumang Simbahan” written by Florentino Collantes and directed by Jose Nepomuceno for Malayan Films. She was the ill-fated Julita to Gregorio’s Rodolfo. Again, it featured a mouth-to-mouth kissing scene with his leading man, and by this time, Sofia seemed to be very much comfortable doing the smoldering scene. "Excellent work by every member of the cast distinguishes it as a drama of genuine merit. But it is Sofia Lotta who is the star", reported The Tribune and Herald on the acting of Miss Cotabato. The Times gushed, "The work of the youthful star, in fact, does much to establish the picture as a masterpiece of stirring, moving melodrama. Her part alone makes the picture worth seeing".

She did one more film, "Ang Mutya ng Pamilihan" in 1929, where Francisco Varona, a member of the Philippine Carnival Association, made a cameo role. Sofia Lota became one of the top stars of a generation of artists in the early 30s that included Naty Fernandez, Gregorio Fernandez, Maggie Galloway, Dimples Cooper, Eva Lyn, Carlos Padilla, Eduardo de Castro, Nena Linda, and Giorgina Hollis.

Monday, August 1, 2011


A Night View of the 1933 Carnival City

View of Entrance, Army Show

A General View of the Horticultural Exhibits (1933 Carnival)

Exhibit Building of the Province of Leyte (1933 Carnival)

Exhibit Building of the Province of Rizal (1933 Carnival)

A Night Scene at the Commercial and Industrial Fair Building (1933 Carnival)


VICTORY FOR VALESCA. Queen of the 1924 Laguna Provincial Fair.

Ever since the inception of the first ever Manila Carnival of 1908, “La Laguna” had always been one of the more enthusiastic provinces ever to join the national fair. Its provincial government threw its all-out support by putting up one of the most outstanding booths in the pioneer exhibits that drew rave reviews from visitors and media men covering the fair. The award-winning 250 sq.m. booth was noted for its exquisite display of finely woven buri and uway hats, textiles, medicinal water from Majayjay, hats of cana muda from Liliw, sinaba (rice variety) from Sta. Rosa, varnished furniture made from narra, corchos, Japanese sandals and fishes from Laguna de Bay.

The people of Laguna were not disappointed too, in their quest to have one of their fair daughters crowned as the Queen of the carnival festivities. In 1923, Virginia Llamas of Pagsanjan copped the top crown, to the delight of the people of Laguna. Thrilled by her victory, the local government organized its first ever Laguna Provincial Fair (there had been town carnivals years before) in May 1924. The queen-elect was none other than a mestiza beauty, Valesca Calma, who reigned as Queen Valesca I. Two years later, the province had its first official Miss Laguna, in the person of Loreto Relova, who competed in the 1st National Beauty Contest for Miss Philippines.